Behold, God exalts by his power: who teaches like him?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Behold, God exalteth by his power.—The rest of Elihu’s speech is splendidly eloquent. He dilates on the power and majesty of God, and appears to be speaking in contemplation of some magnificent natural phenomenon—as the tempest, or hurricane, or whirlwind—out of which the Lord ultimately spake (Job 38:1). It is probable that this storm was beginning to gather, and that it suggested the glorious imagery of Elihu’s speech. The points are that (1) God is the source of greatness; (2) that there is no teacher like Him (Job 36:22); (3) that He is absolute as well as almighty (Job 36:23); (4) that He is unsearchable and eternal (Job 36:26).Job 36:22-23. Behold, God exalteth by his power, &c. — God is omnipotent; and therefore can either punish thee far worse, or deliver thee, if thou dost repent. He is also infinitely wise; and as none can work like him, so none can teach like him: therefore do not presume to teach him how to govern the world. None teacheth with such authority and convincing evidence, with such condescension and compassion, with such power and efficacy as God doth, he teaches by the Bible, and that is the best book; by his Son, and he is the best master. Who hath enjoined him his way? — Wherein he should walk; that is, what methods he should use in the administration of human affairs? If he had a superior, who gave him laws for his actions, he might be accountable to him for what he did; but he is supreme and uncontrollable; who hath no law to regulate him but his own holy nature and blessed will, and therefore how rash and absurd a thing is it for any man to censure his proceedings! Thou hast wrought iniquity — Thou hast swerved from the law and rule given thee.
Who teacheth like him? - The Septuagint renders this, δυνάστης dunastēs - "Who is so powerful as he?" Rosenmuller and Umbreit render it Lord: "Who is Lord like him?" But the Hebrew word (מורה môreh) properly means "one who instructs," and the idea is, that there is no one who is qualified to give so exalted conceptions of the government of God as he is himself. The object is to direct the mind to him as he is revealed in his works, in order to obtain elevated conceptions of his government.
exalteth—rather, doeth lofty things, shows His exalted power [Umbreit] (Ps 21:13).
teacheth—(Ps 94:12, &c.). The connection is, returning to Job 36:5, God's "might" is shown in His "wisdom"; He alone can teach; yet, because He, as a sovereign, explains not all His dealings, forsooth Job must presume to teach Him (Isa 40:13, 14; Ro 11:34; 1Co 2:16). So the transition to Job 36:23 is natural. Umbreit with the Septuagint translates, "Who is Lord," wrongly, as this meaning belongs to later Hebrew.God exalteth; or, is high, or exalted; the active verb being taken intransitively; which is not unusual in the Hebrew tongue. This is a proper argument to force the foregoing counsels. God is omnipotent; and therefore can with great facility either punish thee far worse, if thou be obstinate and refractory; or deliver thee, if thou dost repent and return to him.
Who teacheth like him? he is also infinitely wise as well as powerful; and as none can work like him, so none can teach like him. Therefore do not presume to teach him how to govern the world, or to order thy affairs; but know that whatsoever he doth with thee, or with any other men, is best to be done. And therefore be willing to learn from him. Learn obedience by the things which thou sufferest from him; and do not follow thy own fancies or affections, but use the methods which God hath taught thee to get out of thy troubles, by submission, and prayer, and repentance. The words may be rendered, what lord is like him? For the word moreb in the Chaldee dialect signifies a lord. This translation suits with the former clause of this verse; but ours agrees well enough with that, and is confirmed by the following verse. 1 Timothy 2:5; he exalts him as a Prince and a Saviour, Acts 5:31, to give repentance and remission of sins to his people, and to be the Judge of quick and dead, Acts 10:42. He has exalted the human nature of Christ to the grace of union to the Son of God: and exalted him in this nature at his right hand, far above all principality and power, Ephesians 1:21, he exalts men in a civil sense, who are in a low estate, and raises them to a very high one; promotion is alone of him, he sets up and puts down at pleasure. In a spiritual sense, he exalts men when he brings them out of a state of nature into an open state of grace; brings them out of the horrible pit, and sets their feet upon the rock Christ Jesus; takes them as beggars from the dunghill, and places them among princes, even the princes of his people; admits them to communion with himself, puts and keeps them in his favour, as in a garrison; and at last causes them to inherit the throne of glory, 1 Samuel 2:8. He exalts men, when he sets the poor on high from affliction, and brings them out of adversity into prosperity; and which is what may be chiefly intended here; let a man he brought as low as may, God can by his power, if he will, raise him up again. And this may be said for the comfort and encouragement of Job, in his present circumstances: and so Aben Ezra interprets it,
"God will exalt thee;''
as he afterwards did. The Targum is,
"behold, God alone is strong in his might;''
see Psalm 21:13;
who teacheth like him? He teaches by his providences, adverse as well as prosperous; he teaches by his word and ordinances; he teaches by his Spirit and grace, and none teaches like him. Ministers of the word teach men both doctrine and duty, but not like him; they have their gifts for teaching, their wisdom and knowledge, their doctrine, and all the use they are of, from him; none teach so pleasantly, so profitably, so powerfully and effectually, as he does: the Targum adds,Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. exalteth by his power] Rather, God doeth loftily in his power.
who teacheth] Or, who is a teacher.
22–25. Instead of murmuring Job should bow under the mighty hand of God, who through the operations of His providence is a great teacher of men (Job 36:22); who is supreme (Job 36:23); and whose work all men celebrate (Job 36:24), looking to it with admiration and awe (Job 36:25).Verse 22. - Behold, God exalteth by his power; rather, behold, God doeth loftily in his power (see the Revised Version). Who teacheth like him? This has been called "the key-note of Elihu's whole discourse" (Cook). The entire providential government of the world by God he views as didactic, as a series of moral lessons addressed to men by their Maker (see Job 33:14, 16; Job 35:11; Job 36:9, etc.). If the lessons intended are taken to heart, then all goes well with men; if they are rejected, then very sad and terrible results follow (Job 36:12).
To a broad place, whose ground hath no straitness,
And the adorning of thy table shall be full of fatness.
17 Yet thou art become full of the judging of the evil-doer:
Judging and judgment lay hold on one another!
18 For let not anger indeed entice thee to scorning,
And let not the greatness of the ransom mislead thee.
With Job 36:16 Elihu passes over to the application to Job of what he said in the preceding strophe. Since it is usual to place אף (like גּם and אך) at the beginning of the sentence, although not belonging to the member of the sentence which immediately follows, ואף הסיתך for והסית אף אתך cannot be remarkable. The praet. הסיתך is not promissory, but Elihu says with what design God has decreed the present suffering for Job. הסית מן is like 2 Chronicles 18:31 : out of distress (צר for צר by Rebia magnum), which has him in its jaws, and threatens to swallow him, God brings him away to great prosperity; a thought which Elihu expresses in the imagery of the Psalms of a broad place and a bountiful table (comp. e.g., Psalm 4:2; Psalm 23:5). רחב is locative, and לא־מוּצק תּחתּיה is either a relative clause: whose beneath (ground) is not straitened, no-straitness (in which case מוּצק would not be constr. from the n. hophal. מוּצק, Isa.Isa 9:1, but absol. after the form מחנק, Job 7:15, Ew. 160, c, Anm. 4), Saad. Arab. lâ ḍı̂q fı̂ mûḍ‛hâ (cujus in loco non angustiae); or it is virtually an adj.: without (לא equals בּלא, as Job 34:24), comp. on Job 12:24) straitness of what is beneath them, eorum quae sub se habet (comp. on Job 28:5). רחב is fem., like רחוב, Daniel 9:25. A special clause takes the place of the locative, Job 36:16 : and the settling or spreading, i.e., the provision (from נוּח, to come down gradually, to seat one's self) of thy table shall be full of fatness. מלא (whether it be adj. or verb) is treated by attraction, according to the gender of the governed noun; and it is unnecessary, with Rosenm. and others, to derive נחת from נחת (Aram. for ירד).
In Job 36:17, דּין is intended of Job's negative judgment concerning God and His dealings (comp. Psalm 76:9, where it signifies a judicial decision, and Proverbs 22:10, where it signifies a wrangling refusal of a fair decision). Job 36:17 is not a conditional clause (Hahn), in which case the praet. hypothet. would have a prominent position, but an adversative predicative clause: but (nevertheless) thou art full of the judging of the evil-doer (evil judging); after which, just as ἀσυνδέτως as Job 36:14, the sad issue in which this judging after the manner of evil-doers results is expressed: such judging and judgment border closely upon one another. Rd., Dietr., and Schlottm. have wrongly reproduced this idea, discerned by Ges., when they translate: judgment and sentence (guilt and punishment) shall seize thee. יתמכוּ, prehendunt scil. se (Ebr.: put forth the hand), is used like the Aram. סמך, to draw nearer, fasten together (Rabb. סמוּך, near at hand), Arab. tamâsaka (from Arab. msk equals סמך, as e.g., hanash equals נחשׁ). In Job 36:18 we leave the signification thick milk or cream (חמה equals חמאה, as Job 29:6) to those who persuade themselves that cream can be metaphorically equivalent to superfluity (Ew., Hirz., Vaih., Hlgst.). Renan's translation: N'espre pas dtourner la colre de Dieu par une amende, we also leave as a simple puzzle to its discoverer, who, with this one exception, is destitute of thoughts proper to the book of Job. In general, the thought, "do not imagine by riches, by a great ransom, to be able to satisfy the claims of God," is altogether out of place here. Moreover, חמה, which, as e.g., דּאגה, Proverbs 12:25 (Ew. 174, g), is construed as masc., cannot be understood of God's wrath, since the poet by הסית will not at one time have ascribed to God a well-meant incitation, at another an enticement in malam partem. That which allures is Job's own חמה, and that not the excitement of his affliction (Hahn), but of his passion; comp. אף, Job 36:13. שׂפק is, however, to be explained according to Job 34:37, comp. Job 27:23 (clapping of hands equals derision); and כּפר signifies reconciliation or expiation, as Job 33:24. Elihu admonishes Job not to allow himself to be drawn by the heat of passion into derision, or to deride; nor to be allured from the right way by the ransom which is required of him as the price of restoration to happiness, viz., humble submission to the divine chastisement, as though this ransom were exceeding great. The connection is clear: an adverse verdict (דּין) and condemnation (משׁפּט) are closely connected; for (כּי) hastiness of temper, let it not (פּן( ton ti ) lead thee astray ... thou wouldst not escape the judgment of God!
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